AD // There comes a time for most parents when they have to start thinking about whether to put a TV in their child’s bedroom. All children grow up and will want what their friends have, will ask for new things and will grow out of the toys and games they already own. Having a TV in their room can be a big thing for a child!
According to a survey of 680 parents from Reliant, here are some statistics about having TV’s in children’s bedrooms:
75% of children want a TV in their room
Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of kids want a TV in their bedroom. When their friends get one, they will want one to. And it can also be an extra sense of independence, knowing you have your own TV that’s yours to watch. And for a kid, having a tv on the wall seems pretty cool.
Typically, kids will start asking for a TV in their room in infant school
This is a really young age, which I’m quite surprised about. Children typically start infant school at 4 years old and will leave when they’re 7 – I think the upper end of that age range is probably the age I would start thinking about it but certainly not younger than that.
45% of children watch TV to fall asleep
Hmm, I’m not sure how I feel about this statistic. As adults, we have sleep hygiene drilled into us and one of the things that comes up again and again is to not be staring at screens so close to bedtime.
54% of children have an iPad or a tablet
Again, I think age is important here. Does a child really need an iPad and a TV in their room? I think the social media and internet argument is important here too – if you give them a “standard” TV, then you don’t have to worry about them stumbling across something on social media.
And 43% of parents wished they have waited to put a TV in their child’s room
Hindsight is a wonderful thing and this isn’t too surprising really, I think most people look back at something and wished they had waited or not jumped into it so quickly.
How to make having a TV in your child’s room a more positive experience:
Although it might seem daunting, putting a TV in your child’s room, there are plenty of things you can do to make it a more positive experience for both of you:
Set screen time limits
Screen time limits are important for everyone but especially for kids, so they can learn to limit their time and ensure they don’t spend too much time in front of the TV. Explain that you’re giving them the freedom to have the TV in their bedroom but allocate an amount of time they can use it or specific hours in the day – perhaps after homework or before dinner.
Try and ensure it’s turned off before bedtime
This goes for adults as well! Blue light from screens and TV’s can impact your sleep and sleep is so important for children. So ensure the TV is switched off well before bedtime, to allow them to settle down easier for the night. You might want to remove the remote from their room.
Buy them a good quality TV
This point will also depend on budget but you probably won’t want to get them a 30 year old TV with 4 channels. Perhaps not something as stand-of-the-art as your oled 4k tv that you might have in your living room but if they’re going to have a TV, it might as well be a decent one with good sound and good picture, to give them a better experience.
Use family friendly controls
Anything that involves the TV or internet has to potential to allow them to stumble upon something you wouldn’t want them to see so before they start using it, ensure that family friendly controls are set up on the TV so you don’t have to worry about them seeing something that isn’t suitable for children.
Encourage them to watch different things
Watching TV is often cast in a bad light but I think it depends on what you – and your child – watch. There are plenty of informative and fun shows to inspire creativity and learning. Encourage them to watch different things or watch things together in their room on occasion so you can talk about what you’re seeing and learning.
Make sure their screen time isn’t to the exclusion of other healthier activities
TV is a nice treat and a well-deserved activity for some down-time but you’ll want to ensure that they’re not spending too much time watching TV to the detriment of other healthier activities, like playing outside. This is where screen limits will come in handy and to teach them that the TV isn’t for all the time.
Monitor any changing behaviour
Although you can set screen limits and family friendly controls, you never know what might slip through the cracks. If you’re finding your child is wanting to watch too much TV or they’re not interested in other activities anymore, monitor that behaviour and deal with it as it arises.
When it comes to when you should put a TV in your child’s bedroom, it really us up to the individual parents and children. You can get advice from others but ultimately it’s down to you to decide when the time is right.